No sport is more synonymous with injury than football. And no injury strikes fear into players, coaches, fans and the teams that pay the salaries like the torn anterior cruciate ligament. Located at the center of the knee joint, the ACL connects the tibia (shinbone) and femur (thigh bone). And when a player tears his, that’s the end of his season.
Well, we are all of one preseason game into the season, and already the NFL has seen a rash of torn ACLs in training camps, taking out some pretty big names and putting pretty big holes in contenders’ lineups before they have taken even one snap in a preseason game.
With today’s medicine, there is hope. But first let’s look at some of the big names to go down with torn ACLs already, and the impact their absences could have:
• Bryan Bulaga, OT, Packers (Leaving Aaron Rodgers without the man slotted to protect his blind side.)
• Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles (Taking perhaps Philadelphia’s best receiver out of the lineup in coach Chip Kelly’s new high-paced offense.) Here’s a post-op photo posted by Maclin on Tuesday:
• Dan Koppen, C, Broncos (Denver, which entered the season as many people’s favorite to make it out of the AFC to the Super Bowl, now has to find a new man to snap the ball to Peyton Manning.)
• Chris Culliver, CB, 49ers (The San Francisco DB made headlines for anti-gay comments during Super Bowl week; now the team is down a nickel back in an attempt to return to the big game.)
And it doesn’t stop there. These players are also done with a torn ACL:
• Danario Alexander, WR, Chargers
• Arrelious Benn, WR, Eagles
• Joe Morgan, WR, Saints
Suffering injury is bad enough. But when the story of how you were injured becomes a joke in itself, you make a bad kind of history. Sport’s dumbest injuries.
Just think of the Eagles. Two receivers out for the season already. A third receiver, Riley Cooper, is embroiled in controversy surrounding his racial slur. And the rest of the receiving corps is comprised primarily of undrafted rookies. Oh yeah, they also lost a linebacker to a torn ACL in late July, too.
While this season appears to be a lost cause for these guys, at least the last 12 months give them and their clubs hope for 2014.